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Searching for Meaning in Ambiguity

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skein_of_fuckupednessThis evening someone left a comment on “Affairs Are Exuberant Acts of Defiance“, my riff on the idiotic essay Esther Perel wrote on infidelity.

“Stephanie” writes:

“I stumbled upon this while looking for works by Esther Perel and was horrified. Perel’s research and writing comes from a place of thoughtfulness, growth, and understanding. She searches for meaning in ambiguity instead of placing a good/bad label on complicated relationships. Your writing is pure hate and bitterness toward your ex, which is reductive and doesn’t add to the conversation at all.”

I thought I’d put it through the Universal Bullshit Translator, because I simply could not resist the phrase “searches for meaning in ambiguity.”

“I stumbled upon this while looking for works by Esther Perel and was horrified.”

Well, I’m horrified by the writing of Esther Perel. Nice of you to stumble by here and make snap judgments about people who’ve suffered from infidelity. Not that you would ever place a “bad” label on me, or approach my blog in a spirit of thoughtfulness, growth, or understanding. Nah. Championing self-respect and encouraging people to leave cheaters is so… bitter.

Perel’s research and writing comes from a place of thoughtfulness, growth, and understanding.

Perel’s writing comes from a place of narcissism. She describes affairs as “quests for aliveness.” Talk to the guy who had to paternity test his children how “alive” he felt. Or the faithful partner who caught an STD. Or the mom who discovered her husband’s infidelity at her prenatal screening.

I don’t mean to harsh your Esther buzz there, Stephanie, but there’s a reason people morally condemn this cheating shit — it grievously hurts people.

She searches for meaning in ambiguity instead of placing a good/bad label on complicated relationships.

I would say Perel creates ambiguity in the places where there is clearly abuse. It’s not fucking around on your pregnant wife — no! It’s an “exuberant act of defiance”! It’s not blowing the 401K on a hooker habit. It’s a “quest for aliveness”!

Perel creates intellectual murk to excuse cheating. Her world salad is deliberate — we are not to “judge” people who do Bad Things. We mustn’t call them Bad.

Well, Stephanie, some shit is Bad. I’m sure if someone mugged you, you wouldn’t feel ambiguous about it. If someone made unilateral, detrimental decisions about your health, finances, and children’s home life to get some strange, if someone sexually humiliated you, or stole your money, you wouldn’t feel “understanding” — you’d feel righteously pissed off.

I mean, unless, your mugger was “complicated” or something. Then I’m sure you would understand that his unmet need for crystal meth made him pistol whip you.

Anyway, the most charitable thing I can say about Esther Perel and her “finding meaning in ambiguity” is that perhaps she’s just a lousy writer. If things are “ambiguous” either the writer wants it that way because they have a concealed agenda (excusing Bad Things) or they suck at writing.

“To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author David McCullough.

Esther isn’t spelunking her way through the dark caves of ambiguity — she IS the dark cave.

Your writing is pure hate and bitterness toward your ex,

Did you spend 5 minutes on my blog? You’ll find a reference to my ex in About Chump Lady, to solidify my chump credentials, but the purpose of this blog is to support folks on their path out of crappy relationships.

(Yeah, I said “crappy.” I prefer the unambiguous word choices.)

You got me on hate and bitterness, though. There’s nothing more spiteful than drawing cartoons.

xmas6muffintopforgivenesstrollbunnyholly_petraeus

 

 

Careful, Stephanie, I might draw one of you. Or Esther spelunking the caves of ambiguity.

which is reductive

You wound me. Reductive: “Tending to present a subject or problem in a simplified form, especially one viewed as crude.”

Trust That They Suck. There’s a problem put in a simplified form — they suck. Trust it. If I were crude, I would title it “Trust They’re Assholes Who Would Sell Their Own Mother for an Easy Fuck,” but I’m a Methodist minister’s kid and I try to keep things classy.

and doesn’t add to the conversation at all.

Ninety thousand chump comments on this blog and 3.9 million page views in two years. Yeah, no one is adding to the conversation here.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I almost had to stop reading her commentary at “complicated relationships.” It reminded me too much of my cheating Ex’s comment that “things are complicated with me. Always have been. Always will be.” Yes, complicated in a way that my life running a fulltime business to support us while also raising my 3 children and paying for our mortgage singlehandedly wasn’t, I suppose. “Complicated” in a way that justified his serial cheating while hiding it and lying to me so I would keep supporting him. Frankly, “Complicated” is just code for Entitled. This blog singlehandedly has empowered more people to live authentic lives than any other source I’ve seen since being chumped a year and a half ago by a serial cheater. There’s no “bitter” being promoted here. Stephanie is just another apologist.

      • thanks! I can’t think of enough ways to thank Chumplady and the other Chumps here. I’m sick of cheaters and their apologists claiming to be the “deep” souls and the injured parties.

        • The funny thing is that they think they are deep, complicated and fabulous. And of course they are the exact opposite- shallow, simple and disgusting. It doesn’t matter how much sparkle they try to put on that turd.

          • Yes!
            My stbxh (outraged)”you think I was anything like those horny, drunk guys at the topless bars?”

            Me (also outraged) “how were you different?”

            He sat in grumpy silence, unable to come up with an answer. Shallow, simple and disgusting…

      • Margaret and all are awesome and right on! Chumplady has carried me through the worst days ever and made me realize NONE of this was my fault!!!!

    • Margaret: “Frankly, “Complicated” is just code for Entitled.”

      YES! YES! YES!

      Chump Lady, what do you think about a post that lists other Cheater Code Crap? Sort of a subset from the Universal Bullshit Translator?

      Here’s one from my X:

      “Work Function” on the family calendar = cheater code for “Fuckbuddy Date.” I won’t be home for dinner or our son’s baseball game.

      I can think of a million more.

    • Love the word “complicated” and am reminded of a quote from my favorite show, “Supernatural”:

      Dean: “How’s Hell, Crowley?”
      Crowley (the King of Hell): “Hell’s fine. Hell’s like a Swiss watch. Don’t worry about Hell. Hell’s complicated. ”
      Dean: “Game of Thrones is complicated. Shower sex, now that’s complicated. Hell ain’t complicated. Your problem ain’t Hell. It’s you.”

  • Mind your own business Stephanie & go read more Esther crap. We are adults whom can decide on our own what helps us. Chances are good that either you are a cheater or haven’t been cheated on (that you know of) yet. Best of luck to not having to look up Chump Lady later on with a broken heart, devastated life, derailed kids and decimated finances! Either that or you do not give your full heart like a true chump & are prepared to be let down by the most important person in your life in the worst way. Get back to your cave men and leave us alone.

  • “Complicated”??? Oh my. Reminds me of that cheater named Rebekah Gordon who described her now husband, who she poached, as complicated and their “love story” (dime-a-dozen cheating story) as “real.” These people sure do have a flair for wrapping up their bullshit in pretty paper. Cheaters aren’t complicated. They are predictable idiots.

    • Those two dumb assholes, Gordon and that drone dude, were stupid enough to expect people would like them or something.
      Hell , they got crucified, for the most part, in the comments. What idiots, telling the world that they are such fucking lowlife assholes.
      For Chrstsake, when you do this type of crap, at least try to hide it.

    • Agreed Carol … completely predictable… that is of course ..once they are revealed in their true colours by their faithful chumps – and of course Stephanie – Unfaithfulness is t’s just so simple… my STBEX liked anal sex with prostitutes – although in his own professional life and in his hypocritical discussions with his family – 3 young adult daughters and a son – he condemned and judged such behaviours very loudly as the objectification of women – he said numerous so many times I cant remember that prostitutes were women that were often disadvantaged and desperate- what a power hungry sack of shit he was … and what a gossip he was about others indiscretions – as a joke I used to call him the leaky vault – because he could never keep anything to himself oh that is unless it was his own 15 years+ of adultery – he managed to keep that on the down low until I busted him – what a load of shit ……its not complicated – they are liers who simply want to fuck a variety of people, They have have little empathy or regard for the value of their family or the people in their lives that care for or rely on them. It really gives me the shits when others tell me how I should respond to my husbands destruction of our family because of his selfish obsessive fetishes. oh and I think we are supposed to go along with the view that’s its not so bad … minimize it – my husband continues to imply everybody does it and really cant understand why his friends might like to keep their younger daughters away from him because he is just a little creepy?

  • Good on you Tracy… you are right and Ms Sparkly undiepants is wrong. People come out of these experiences with PTSD and STD’s. They lose their houses and kids… some never recover… although all of us Mighty Chumps will. Perhaps Ms Sparkly undiepants should just spend one day in Family court as I did Friday. Lives are destroyed… adult lives and perhaps more importantly kids are put through the meat grinder. Bugger on her…

  • CL, thanks, once again, for coming to the defense of all the chumps of Chumpdom.

    You’d make a great attorney the way you are able to tear apart a bogus case.

    Stephanie appears to have her panties in a knot. Nice unwinding.

  • My marriage was not complicated I married at 24 before God, family and friends. To a man who presented as a loving, straight, Christian raised man. We went on to have three kids and I went about being the best wife, mother and home maker I could be.
    then it all went to hell.
    Ambiguity is what I got when I began to question my STBX’s fidelity. And I had good reason too. Ambiguity is a cheaters hand tool, used to keep a chump in a state of confusion and inner termoil. Not what you seek to bring healing.
    I am so grateful for the bluntness of this site and of those around be who have without reserve spoken truth into my situation.

    Tracy you have a gift and I for one am so glad you continue to share it with all of us.

  • “Perel’s research and writing comes from a place of thoughtfulness, growth, and understanding. She searches for meaning in ambiguity instead of placing a good/bad label on complicated relationships.”

    Great post, CL. My response to this dribble is to point out how “thoughtless” and lacking of understanding Stephanie and Perel are. They ignore THOUSANDS of years of human wisdom from the greatest leaders in humanity as evidenced by founding world religions with billions of followers. In fact, your language is sometimes tame compared to some passages in the Bible about adultery (e.g. calling a cheating wife and by metaphor a cheating Israel “playing the whore”). Bad labels are properly used to label bad things. A truly thoughtful person would seek to UNDERSTAND why so many world religions have called such behavior bad.

      • DM,
        I know many Stephanie and Perel types. Even with all those references I am shocked at the amount of Christians who feel the need to champian my STBXs cause, even to my face. Those who feel the need to verbalise there won confusion in the hope I will just accept that my STBX is broken and need to be understood not divorced.
        He played the ‘Whore” literaly.

        People who choose not to deal with reality and therefore set about creating a world of illusion to cope, such as the stuff put through the translator today are a hinderence to people truly in need.

        This world needs more honest accountability.

        Sin is sin,
        Cheating is Cheating
        and if they suck, they SUCK!

        • And not calling a cancer, cancer does not mean the patient will get any better. In fact, they will likely die. The terminal cancer is adultery. The “cure” is true repentance. Some adulterous folk can’t “take” the cure, and that’s when amputation is highly encouraged plus warranted (i.e. divorce). All these Stephanie and Perel-types might want to think they live in a world free of true cancer. That is naive and dangerous. It just results in death and destruction for all involved.

          • Oh DM,
            I can now laugh about it but you are very right when you state that the this behavour is naive and dangerous.

            I have shared this before, but now looking back I see it with a different persective.

            I month after D’Day our youngest child was diagnosed with Cancer, those who knew of my husbands adultrey were very quick to refute the hospitals findings and advised me to place no faith in the hospitals assumption of what she had. The hospital had already taken blood and confirmed at 9 yrs of age she had a melignance in her system. on Jan first she was diagnosed with Leukiamea, she still has a year of treatment but is doing well so far. They were of little support and what they did do came with demands of praise.

            But now looking back you are right to address the actions of people like this as Naive. These people who have placed themselves as authority figures over my marriage and soon divorce are very ill equiped to be of any real assistance. Those who know STBX well including his brother think that he is living two very separate lives. that which he shows to them in order to be seen as compliant and the real him that is hidden.

            And I agree “That is naive and dangerous. It just results in death and destruction for all involved.”

  • Tracy, don’t ever stop doing what you do so well…. You are a source of light and clarity in a world of “political correctness” and cultural ambiguity. You (and chump nation) taught me how to breathe again and to believe in and love myself. Hugs to you all – I can never tell you all thank you enough for what you have given here.

  • Stephanie, nobody can ever hurt me like this again. There is nothing I did that ever deserves this level of pain. My whole family destroyed, my children’s safety gone, for what?

    You people with your ‘ambiguity’ think along the level of a firecracker that has been stuffed with a lovely mixture of coke and crystal meth: a lovely glittery bang of happiness and excitement sprinkled all sparkly and alive.

    The reality for the betrayed spouse and the kids is nuclear detonation. Believe me on this one. Infidelity is abuse.

    • Right on the money here, Patsy. I second that infidelity and embezzlement of family resources is abuse. Why it isn’t treated as such in “No Fault” states is insult to injury. Who the fuck came up with No Fault, anyway?

      Cheaters think about themselves first. Probably because they KNOW us chumps will think about our kids and their welfare first. While X is throwing parties and going on trips, I’m struggling through another “magical Christmas season” with three sons who will have to do without again because even with my two jobs, it doesn’t come close to enough for any nice gifts. Even the best actors would have a hard time feigning joy over slippers from Ocean State Job Lot. It doesn’t help that dear old dad refuses to work and pay full child support.

      Cheating is such a pervasive act of long-term cruelty, to chumps and their chump kids. I hope they all rot in hell.

      • ChutesandLadders, actually feminists came up with No Fault divorce because women were stuck in horrible marriages (domestic abuse, adultery, etc) and had no way out unless they could prove it. However, it wasn’t meant to be the ONLY option. Some states went too far with it, it wasn’t feminists that drove the bus over the cliff.

        • meant to add, that domestic abuse was not taken seriously back then, proving it was useless. Back then the cops didn’t arrest for that. It was considered a personal issue, and even by many, a mans right to do whatever he wanted to his wife.

        • It sure has bitten many a faithful spouse in the ass, Dat. Guy with an abusive, cheating wife stands little chance at getting custody.
          I think it was this insistence on female custody that drove Warren Farrell out of NOW.
          That guy is brilliant. Have you read his stuff on the myth of male power? Very enlightening.

          • Arnold, do not start your MRA crap with me again, I am NOT in the MOOD to deal with your bullshit about this AGAIN, already refuted this crap last month. So just stop with your unsupported claims and fictional studies.

            • You might enjoy Farrell, Dat. His stuff is very well researched and he presents some very strong evidence refuting male privelige allegations.
              The studies he cites are amazing.
              Good stuff on alleged wage disparity, as well.
              Check him out.

              • Farrell is one of the better MRA bullshitters, compared to the more rabid, he almost sounds reasonable, until you realize that he doesn’t cite jack shit and his ridiculous arguments are chock full of false equivalence arguments in support of his views. He isn’t saying anything new, he just cloaks his shit better than most. What you want to term misandry is simply the damage the patriarchy inflicts on men. I am not going to argue with you, you have never cited a single reputable source for your shit and you aren’t doing it now. Maybe you should try reading authors that challenge your views and do some actual thought exercises as to why you feel so downtrodden. Might help you heal yourself if you stop blaming the entire female gender for your problems. Or you could just stay stuck in a bitter place where women are all liars and have more power than men in our society because some truly mysoginistic men told you women have more power in our culture does not make it true. it just makes you feel better. Jedi hugs!

      • I agree with Patsy and Chutes and Ladders. My cheater got our kids for the first week of Christmas break. Our kids live across the street, but I’m not allowed to see them. Why? Because the Court ordered Cheater and me not to see each other except at child exchanges as the Court is afraid Cheater will harm ME! (I’ll be looking for a new job this holiday season, too, because Cheater quit his high-paying job right after revealing his latest affair. Earning large amounts of money, which he did for years, would mean that he has to contribute to the financial support of our children. Adultery leads to emotional nuclear holocaust.

        • I do not feel downtrodden at all, Dat. Life is really good and fun for me. I really wish you would open your eyes and look around you. This constant blaming men for your problems is doing you no good.

          • I have never blamed women for any problems I may have, Dat. If you got that impression, you are just wrong.
            However, it does seem to me that you work in some dig about men and “patriarchy” gratuitously a lot of the time, and you have a real axe to grind against men.

      • Ironic that my state, Texas, is actually ahead of the curve on this one–we have the option of No-fault, or of a Fault-Divorce due to adultery or cruelty. I don’t usually expect enlightment from Texas lawmakers ; ).

        [I filed No-fault despite his adultery, since I have 2 children who don’t need to hear any further details of STBX’s inability to keep his dick in his pants, and am likely to get through settlement more quickly if his dirty laundry is not dragged into public. Already lost 15 lbs. on the Infidelity diet; I’m eager to lose 165 more as fast as I can.]

        • Another shit sandwich for Chumps; the amount of justice we get is correlated to the amount we’re able to afford to pay for it. I’m in for up to $25K at this point, and still the bastard won’t adhere to court orders.

          Tempest did what we all do; put her children first.

          • Unfortunately, I’m not surprised that your cheater won’t adhere to court orders. That’s what the malevolent personality-disordered do. One divorce attorney who specializes in cases involving personality-disordered ‘combatants’ told me that they won’t stop until they’ve burned you to the ground. This has been my experience. I expect my (our) family to be burned to the ground at the request of one adulterous character-disordered individual, who felt that the only way to ‘win’ was to destroy his wife, even though it meant destroying their kids and him.

            • No, you and your family will not be burned to the ground RockStarWife. You know who he is and you now know he is not special. You know to be vigilant, you know that if you go full monty as needed he will not win. Jedi Hugs!

            • Fighting custody, breaking court orders, lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving & being proud of it all=IMMATURITY. That is SO shocking when you thought you married a grown-up! “Combatant”=Childish creept!
              I am sorry Rockstarwife, it burns me up to hear about a spouse causing so much devastation & then guess what? They’re not done causing pain yet, they have to kick you again when you are at rock bottom….even when THEIR children are involved.
              If there is Cheater Hell, I think he has a ticket! Try to stay strong!

  • “Ninety thousand chump comments on this blog and 3.9 million page views in two years. Yeah, no one is adding to the conversation here.”

    This is fact. And, sadly growing. We each have a fair say and – if anybody has noticed – there isn’t one ‘flame war’ on this site that doesn’t get resolved.

    I just absolutely belly-laughed for a full 10 mins’ on CL’s reply – and, if anybody does that to me with a few well-thought-out-snarky comments – Well, it won’t be the first time you’ve made me laugh – My dogs loved IT!

    Thank you for this entertainment tonight. Really never knew what ambiguity was until now.
    oooooo

  • Great post, screw her and her word salad BS.
    But what really struck me are the blogs numbers CL!!! Why I’m so glad I found you when I did and read every single post and comment because I would never catch up if I had just found you, which means I would never sleep either, sorry I’m rambling but I am giddy I am SO proud of your numbers AND you! XOXOX

    • Ditto here Toni. Finding Chump Lady and Chump Nation was the greatest blessing in such a dark and confusing time. Thanks for all of your words of honesty and directness ! 🙂

      • Couple of things:
        First, I just love how overmatched these Stephanie types are when they tangle with Tracy. Seems they lack the ability to think with much precision, so they whip in a bunch of meaningless phrases and try to portray themselves as deep and evolved and so fucking tolerant.
        I just keep noticing how common this style of writing is among cheaters. Just like they seem to have a common script/methodology in cheating a d justifying, many seem to have this weird, imprecise way of expressing themselves.
        I notice the intellectual drop off a lot when I read posts by cheaters and compare them to the ones by the faithful.
        When I read the comments on this site, how funny and quick folks are, I often wonder how so many smart good writers were fooled by some of the cretins we married. I bet a lot of our friends and family knew or suspected our spouses were assholes but kept their mouths shut.
        I think I found this site when I read Tracy’s posts on TAM. I have been banned from this other three main sites, as we as TAM.
        This site has some of the best writers.
        One really excellent guy at SI, Wincingatthelight, is truly gifted , as well.
        Folks should read his stuff as it is comparable to CL’s.

        • Ah yes, TAM – the place where ‘reformed cheaters’ slut around on the forums, yeah?
          Don’t need to say anything more.

        • Yes, Arnold, a lot of friends and relatives of Cheater knew that my cheater led this lifestyle before and during our marriage but decided to sweep the elephant in the room under the rug. (I guess that they thought it would be easier for them to ignore chronic adultery, perhaps rationalizing, ‘None of my business,’ ‘Maybe she’ll change my son.’ When Cheater left, he told me, ‘Everyone has skeletons in his closet.’ Even if that were true, which I don’t believe, not everyone has so many that the closet door bursts open due to the weight of those skeletons.

          • RockStarWife….One thing I noticed about my XH was that he NEVER discussed his past. I finally realized why. It was because he had so many skeletons in his past that if he opened his mouth, bones would fly out.

        • Arnold – good writers = good imagination… we all had a fairly vivid interpretation of the character we believed our cheater to be – we projected that character onto them. We wanted that fairy tale ending.

  • Patsy you are so right.
    You can never explain to the feeble minded just how bad post d’day is they really need to walk that path themselves.
    I will never forget the pain in my chest that I carried for weeks post D’day. But no matter how gifted with words I will never be able to convey to others it’s intensity.

    You can’t even get it thought to those who once claimed to love you so people like Stephanie are not worth the effort.

    • Agreed, Thankful. Stephanie can’t fathom our pain even though it’s here on these pages for all to see. So there’s no point in trying to get her to see. Perhaps she’s a cheater. Either that or dim witted.

    • Thankful – you are so right too. I remember that pain in my chest, that I too carried for weeks if not months. And the people closest to you sometimes saying stupid shit – like “oh you’ll find someone else” Or “you need to move past this” – No one can understand this pain, no one.

      People like Stephanie – are either cheaters or they have never been through it – they’re not worth, but man it pisses me off that she comes in here and judges us…

      You can’t fix Stupid!

      • I hear you, betrayed,

        the real shitty thing is, when infidelity strikes and it hits like a bitch. you see people in a whole new light not just the cheater.

        people I trusted abused that trust in the attempt to have me sit by while the cheater got fixed, and as you have stated you can’t fix stupid. The redundent bullshit that was said to me directly after learning what the cheater had done was just astounding. The reconcilliation unicorn was dragged out, flogged in the town square and just to prove a point was stuffed and mounted so I could see it every day to remind myself how greatful I should be to be married to a man that confessed his adultrey and is willing to commit himself to the authourity of our church to assit him in turn from his sexual preferences.

        At no time was it considered that my deep sighs were not of anger or frustration but the desperated need to get enough air to prevent myself from internally drowing.

      • betrayed friend, one of the dumbest things someone told me soon after D-day was to “watch TV in the evenings to get over my loneliness.” LOL. That was like telling someone to use a squirt gun to put out a raging inferno. I just smiled since I knew the woman was clueless and was only trying to help.

        Anyway, I love you Chump Lady. Your smack down is epic.

        • Oh Lyn, ‘watch TV in the evenings to get over [your] loneliness’ – oh dear, oh dear 🙁

          a really lovely (but horrendously clueless) mutual friend, advised ‘The Great I Am’ to make me a compilation CD of love songs as a way to ‘mend her broken heart’ – God bless her, but there isn’t a love song on earth that could ease that pain! Anyway dickhead didn’t bother with that but some time later did send me a link to a song called ‘Cough Syrup’ (or something like that, anyway) by some obscure band – about as romantic as a day scrubbing dirty undies – I recall a line making references to Russian hospital wards – bizarre, I swear the man ( shit for brains) is obviously insane! 😀

        • My Ex, void of anything resembling decency, asked the OW what he could do to “fix things” (He was the “I’m never going to leave my wife type”), She of the gorilla tribe, told him to write “I love you” on the bathroom mirror (which he did with my favorite lipstick). Of course, she got even with him by sending me a FB message to let me know it was his idea. I took a baseball bat to the bathroom mirror (I shit you not). So glad to be out of the garbage pit that is his scrambled brains.

          • That’s terrible. The cheaters really are disordered. My POS told me a month ago that he’s in love with his best-friend/ho-worker. I thought about that for a second, then started throwing up on my own snot. When that was done, I told him to get the eff out. Where does he go? Well, to the OW’s house of course. For advice. Because. She. Cares. And. Knows. He. Loves. His. Family. She just wants to help us. You can’t make this shit up. My POS is at his parent’s house with the flu tonight. I hope he chokes on it.

          • “took a baseball bat to the bathroom mirror”

            Linda, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to do something like that. I’ve been containing the crazy, ass whopping, doesn’t-give-a-shit bitch boiling inside of me. It’s been a struggle, but your story actually let off a little steam.

            My 11 year old son spent last Christmas Eve sobbing after he accidentally stumbled on his father’s sext messages to his whore du jour. It was the closest I’ve come to scratching his eyes out.

            Theres no way to twist this into an ambiguous or complicated situation. It’s just plain shitty.

  • I am similarly “horrified” when someone attempts to whitewash infidelity. Walk a minute in my shoes and tell me again about “ambiguity”. I don’t even think my ex would say anything was particularly complicated or meaningful in the way he suddenly walked out or shacked up with another woman.

    I am sick of the “bitter” accusations, as if it is something to be ashamed of because we are angry or hurt. I am under no obligation to make nice and smile for pearl-clutching Pollyannas because it would make them feel more comfortable.

    I read Perel’s “Mating in Captivity.” It was about intimacy and I thought it was fine. However, that also does not mean I agree with her when she write something dumb.

    • Okay, count me as a “bitterness” apologist. If someone violates every aspect of my life that I hold sacred, then, yup, I am f**king bitter and angry. And I deserve to be. And I evolved to be angry in those circumstances. I would worry heartily about someone who was NOT angry and bitter after infidelity.

      I am feeling that anger and, yes, hatred, right now recalling how much DISRESPECT I, and all my fellow chumps, were shown as human beings worthy of respect. How dare my STBX and all cheaters think that their search for novel p*ssy or c*ck trumps our desire for respect, the welfare of us and our children, and our attempts to live a life with integrity.

      Bring it on, Stephanie. I’m in a fightin’ mood.

      • Tempest!

        Since we do not have ’emoticons’ here, picture this: {Me with pom-poms, leaping high! And hopefully not landing on my rear!!!) Love your comment!
        Especially this: “I would worry heartily about someone who was NOT angry and bitter after infidelity.”

        And, I think I can rustle up a pair of boxer’s gloves to boot……

        ForgeOn, Tempest….ForgeOn, Nation….

      • Damn straight, Tempest!
        Why the hell wouldn’t we feel bitter and disdainful towards someone who has treated us like complete shit for nothing but a fleeting pleasure.

  • There is nothing complicated about a relationship that two people enter into promising “to love in sickness and health, for better or worse…. and to forsake all others until death do them part”. What is complicated is when someone decides to completely annihilate the other person by having an affair.

    I was one of “those” people who always wondered “what happened” to the marriages of acquaintances who would divorce. Now I know, after living through it, that for many of them, what happened was that one partner decided that those vows meant nothing to them and chose to obliterate their spouse and family by cheating.

    NO ONE who has not experienced the decimation of adultery can ever understand the pain. We have to continue to preach that it is not about the cheater who made choices and probably has no remorse anyway. It is about the families who have been razed to the ground. It is about the children who now question the sanctity of marriage. It is about the spouse who has lost their self-worth and trust in others. We shouldn’t excuse the behavior of murders, thieves, rapists, etc. So why do we excuse the behavior of cheaters. Oh, right…the relationship was complicated!

  • Just wow! That’s some amazing word salad there Steph! There’s only two possibilities for this “enlightened soul (less vampire). She is either a cheater or one of those militant chumps who won’t acknowledge she’s a chump. I have to say, some of those unicorn chasers are worse than the cheaters themselves.

    What they lack in reading comprehension, they absolutely make up for with misdirected passion towards the unicorn of reconciliation. It cracks me up that they don’t understand that the underlying message of the chump lady is to “Gain a life”. She encourages you to get to meh and lead an authentic cheater-free life. How is that “pure hate and bitterness toward your ex?”

    She makes fun of cheaters in general but let’s face it; they generally provide the whole world with excellent material. If you’re a smart-ass at heart, it’s really hard to pass that up. It’s almost painful actually.

    So much word salad; so little dressing!

    • those militant chumps who won’t acknowledge she’s a chump. I have to say, some of those unicorn chasers are worse than the cheaters themselves.

      I love your comment on this.

      I am pretty sure I delt with two of these types just after D.Day one of whom even had the nerve coming from a place of assumed authority to ask,” Knowing what he has done, will you take him back” oh an no joke she was serious. Years ago I asked my now X ministers wife why was it that when young girls in the church fell pregnant out of marriage that they were made stand up the front and confess but non of the men where made do so if they we found to be sleeping around. responce ” Men don’t fall pregnant my dear” this same woman has ended her friend ship with me but is polite in public. but to this day lies to hid my husbands adultery from others. and no she is not the OW.

      • Whaddaya wanna bet that her husband has tossed it around on her once or twice? She sounds like she’s been snorting the word salad herself, and you threaten her with your clarity and truth. Ended the friendship? Did you a favor.

  • ChumpLady, I like what you do. I think your BS radar has saved many people years of complicated ambiguity. What a gift!

  • Only a non-chump would ever presume to use a word like “reductive” in the context of infidelity. And there’s nothing remotely ambiguous about entitlement, which is what cheating is all about. Stephanie, I sincerely hope your theoretical constructs never get put to the test.

  • Wow, almost sounds like Esther Perel and Stephanie are closet cheaters or so hopelessly gaslit by another human being they would excuse contempt and disrespect as normal.

    I’ve always looked at marriage as a sort of business agreement with the vows being the actual contract. One or both partners earn finances while one or both contribute to the home or family life in some form.

    If your business partner started spending part of your share of the business proceeds for his or her “vacations and parties and divested funds” you would be on that partner’s ass with a lawyer.

    Why is getting upset about an affair (an act that is expressly forbidden in vows) so hard to comprehend for these women? Why is worrying about monies spent on hookers/separate vacations/gifts for the AP/etc. not normal for Esther or Susan? Why is making somebody have to visit a medical office to get STD testing or paternity testing on their kids not considered wrong by these idiots?

    What kind of feelings does embezzling, forgery, misrepresentation, contamination, and outright disrespect evoke in a normal human being? You do this crap in an actual business environment you get written out of the contract, fined, brought up on charges or jailed.

    So the embezzler, forger, liar and STD source is entitled to their exuberant act of defiance! What absolute dreck.

    • People like Stephanie or Esther are just not very thoughtful people. Despite their attempts to sound sophisticated and super evolved etc. , they kind of stumble their way through life , just fucking up all types of shit.
      These people water down the gene pool
      If they procreate with like folks.
      I am thankful that, as far as I can tell so far, my DNA seems to have overridden my XW’s in my kids. They are pretty smart.
      Two of my teenage daughters , recently, got in an argument with their mom and texted her directions to a site that is supposed to provide help for serial cheaters. Wish I could have seen that reaction.

    • JACS, well said. My cheater publicly complained that I skimped on our kids’ food (making kids’ (and my) lunches instead of eating out) because I was cheap. (I was saving money for our kids’ college tuition (putting money back into ‘the company.’) What was he doing with the savings? Hiring prostitutes, treating OW to luxury services. Now, according to him, although he abruptly left me when I had no job, he suddenly can’t and shouldn’t pay me support, and I should pay HIM. He tells the public and our kids that I am educated enough to get a job but just too lazy to (instantly) get a high-paying one and I am an unfit parent who should not see our kids. If the general public treated breaking marriage vows as an offense on par with fraud, then perhaps cheaters wouldn’t try to con others so often.

  • Somehow, at the end of the day, I think Ester and Dan Savage are just two people trying to get ahead of their own narrative, and that both are active cheaters who simply haven’t had to face the consequences, yet…

    • It’s amazing how many of the disordered pursue very public ways to “get ahead of their own narrative.” Cheaters are always telling half truths….

  • OMG. Really!… If they could truely see what this does to the children…what it does to the loyal spouse! OMG! The years of counseling and meds…the sleeplessness night and then when we do sleep we are awakened by our own screams and night sweats because of the nightmares!! I tell you I am going to end up on snapped!!!

  • Searching for meaning in ambiguity is like searching for rabbits camping in the refrigerator. It won’t take long, and it won’t be fruitful.

  • Old Stephanie is either a whore/mistress or a Chump in self imposed unicorn land forever. Or worse – a pseudo-intellectual who thinks grasping some “big” words from self help land makes her an authority on blog authors and their secret failings.

  • Dear Stephanie, There was nothing complicated about my relationship, or so I thought.. He told me it was forever. I tapped my retirement to fix up a home for us and gave him money for his/our business. Then he secretly started a relationship with a married woman at the wake for her brother, his high school buddy. He neglected to tell me about that. Or return the money. He moved to his childhood , saying he would take a few months to fix it up so his parents who could no longer live there could sell it. He neglected to say that he was the buyer. He was thriving on ambiguity, as in “I love you” when he meant “I’m screwing the married sister of my dead buddy,” and “I bought a new truck” when he meant “I spent your money,” and “I’m too busy to call or text you” when he meant “I’m not texting you because I’m spending all my time texting and sneaking out with a married woman” and “She came over to look at Mom’s dining room furniture” when he meant, “She used a pretext to come over here because we’re in love.” Here’s some more ambiguity: when he’s asked about what happened to his first marriage, he says “she just moved out,” but he says his sister-in-law hates him because she says he destroyed his first wife’s life. So I’m thinking Esther’s search for “ambiguity” in cheating can pretty much stop at noticing how these liars and con artists thrive on double talk, words that are intentional deceptive, and factual jujitsu like blame shifting and gaslighting.

    Here’s a news flash for you: all relationships (including family relations, friendships, and professional connections) are complicated, because humans are works in progress bring their own needs, beliefs, fears and experiences to their encounters with others. But those complications can be managed if people related with love and integrity. The “complicated relationship” of interest to Esther is complicated because one party has a character disorder. One partner signed up for monogamy and lived up to the commitment and the other–secretly, arbitrarily and without regard to the need and feelings of his or her partner–voided the deal by cheating while still reaping the benefit of the partner’s full commitment. That’s not complicated; that’s abuse, as Tracy explains. Thirteen months after I found out about the cheating, I’ve figured out that there are certain complications that hold no interest for me. If I want ambiguity, I’ll read Shakespeare or a poem.

    • says it all: “One partner signed up for monogamy and lived up to the commitment and the other–secretly, arbitrarily and without regard to the need and feelings of his or her partner–voided the deal by cheating while still reaping the benefit of the partner’s full commitment”

      Only total narcs see nothing wrong with lying for your own benefit

    • Great response LAJ. This whole discussion reminded me of a routine Chris Rock performed on the Columbine murders. I can’t access it with my computer, but he basically responded to people trying to “understand the complexity” of those misunderstood teenagers who murdered.

      If I remember correctly Chris Rock’s slap down included crying them a river for not having “friends” or a prom date…No, said Rock, I did not have as many friends as they did ; ) they were just bat shit crazy.

      Good luck to anyone trying to “understand” sociopaths. Imagine living life with the guy from Silence of the Lambs—good luck with that.

      I am reading Dracula with my son now. The horror genre is interesting for the fears it arises, but would never want to live there.

      • I think Tracy hits it on the head when she reminds people like Stephanie and Esther that we don’t make similar excuses or provide justifications for muggers, robbers, rapists and others who cause tremendous pain to others for their own gratification. That Chris Rock routine is spot on; normal people do not respond to life by committing mass murder, and those who look to “explain” or justify that (beyond looking for the pathology) are just enablers of the next nut job. We know all we need to know about infidelity when we see how hard cheaters try to keep their secrets in order to preserve access to cake and for impression management.

  • thinking about this has struck me that my STBX loves being ambiguous.

    Constantly having a dig and leaving it so you were left to interperate his meaning. If I ever called him on it, if what he had said had left me a bit shocked or hurt he would respond with “it was not meant to come across like that, that is just how you took it. This was his number one tacktic for getting in am messing with my head, leaving me confused and unsure of my own ablitiy to think clearly.
    OMG he was a expert at this behavour.

    I had always thought during my 18yr marriage that my STBX’s brother and sister in law did not like me, imagine my shock when I was told that they had kept their distance over the years due to STBX and his duplicity………..He can never be fixed he is happy to go with what ever will work for him at that given time.

    • Yep. I also had the sort of noncommittal, vague, nonspecific behaviors over the course of our marriage, and I was also similarly blamed when I “misinterpreted” his behavior.

      Well, I misinterpreted the hell out of all those late nights at the restaurant, didn’t I, feeling sorry for him having to be stuck working so hard while his other two business partners lazily left him with the extra tasks. Little did I know the extra tasks were things like, “Oh, hey, Dickhead, sorry I gotta leave early today but there’s just that one waitress who still needs fucking. Could you get that done before you leave tonight? yeah? Thanks a lot!”

      I don’t think XH did it on purpose so much as it was the easiest way out. If I had to choose one word for XH to sum him up, it would have to be “lazy.” No effort whatsoever: to work on our marriage, to be less ambiguous, to resist temptation. No wonder he had so much extra energy to burn off on his vacations!

      But at least in my XH’s case, I don’t think it was intentionally malicious or manipulative, it’s just what he learned worked for him over the years: charm & ambiguity. — And I don’t think there was intent in large part because, on Dday, he told me he was surprised at my reaction (sobbing, rocking in a fetal ball) because he thought I felt the same way he did, that our marriage wasn’t worth working on. And I think he seemed genuinely befuddled by my reaction.

      • Mine was very surprised at my reaction to D’Day. Stated he didn’t understand why I was so upset. He just didn’t get it.
        The only honest thing to come out of his mouth, because he is never going to get how he ripped my heart out with his confession. How he blind sided me prior to D’day with claims of love and devotion. While simultaneously making me feel I was somehow struggling emotionally and that if I worked harder on me and at being a subservient wife. Things would be better.

        And then post d’day the attitude that he was working on his issues and that I needed to work on mine for our marriage to continue, and if I chose to end the marriage then all responsibility was on me.

        Oh yeah. Trust they suck.

        • Thankful, mine actually said, 5 mos after DDay, “I don’t know why you’re so upset. I stayed with you longer than any of the others.” I didn’t know there was more than one prior GF (we were together 16 yrs.) and not until four months after he stated that did I know that he cheated on her with me, kept fucking her for the first 7 years he lived with me, cheater on her with 3 other women, and that he had at least one prior OW that I know of now prior to 2013 DDay. But he didn’t understand why I was “so upset.”

          • living with a disfunctional cheater is like trying to educate a spoilt rotten yr 2 student consequence for action, seriously frustrating and a waste of time.

        • Agreed, Thankful. Mine continues to minimize his affair and its impact on me. When I asked him what he thought would happen when I found out, he said he thought I’d be mad for a few days and then get over it. After D-day, when he agreed to MC, he sent me an email that day detailing the issues I would have to correct for him to go to counseling.

          Apparently he hadn’t gotten the memo saying that his affair meant that he had ZERO bargaining power. I responded to his email with a gorgon-style rant and threw him out of the house. Jerk. You’re right–it is like trying to reason with a spoiled 2-year old.

          • Seriously, Tempest. At one point during post DDay long discussions with X, he said to me, “If you ever get into another relationship again, Margaret then — ” and I cut him off, immediately – saying “Sorry but I’m not taking any relationship advice from YOU!” And that was months before I found out about the 2 prior OWs.

  • Spot on. My bet is that Steph is a pseudo intellectual. No one who lived thru this would attempt to minimize the pain. Good luck Steph – I would not wish this on anyone – not even the OW

  • Well, my relationship with my ex was complicated. He spent his last two years in our marriage dissipating community assets, walked away from his children (actually stated,”YOU figure it OUT, he’s YOUR SON,” when asked what his intentions were in regards to paying for college) but not before dipping into all of our savings and college accounts (we had one child attending college and two in high school planning to enroll within the next few years). Then he moved out (after spending hours discussing his decision with his whore and then his sister) leaving me to manage our finances on my salary alone which was 1/4 of his, allowed our family home to foreclose even though he could easily afford the mortgage (he had no intention of splitting that asset either), and flew to Oregon every weekend to spend time with and court his “true luv.” When I was scrambling to outline our financial situation to our clueless family court I stumbled upon an old HIV test dated two years before Dday. This is only a small part of what I do know about his crap behavior. We were together for 28 years and our family was the best thing he ever had. Damn straight I am bitter. It’s one thing to fuck over your wife, quite another to leave that as a legacy for your children. Even before this I had no admiration for men/women who fucked over their spouses by having affairs. Ala John Edwards, Tiger Woods, or Leann Rhymes. Not anybody I’d want to know. I don’t think any excuse works. Hey if you want to fuck others while finding yourself don’t get married. If you want to talk about it and haven’t ever been Chumped then just shut the fuck up. It’s as simple as that. Happy Holidays, Chump Nation.

    • Drew–what a horrific story. And I agree with you–why WOULDN’T we be bitter or angry? It would be unnatural not to feel negative emotions after what they did to us and to our families. And frankly, it is intelligent to feel such things (including revulsion) toward people who can behave as lowly as these cheaters behave.

      Happy Holidays to you!!!

  • Stephanie has either been cheated on and is spackling like crazy or she’s a cheater who’s looking for validation. Either way, she’s an idiot.

    When you have to get STD tested and wonder what on earth you could have passed onto your breastfed baby whilst waiting for the results, then there’s no patience for BS ‘ambiguity’. And for someone to then throw the ‘bitter’ word into the mix, well, you just have to know they’re an idiot and therefore not worth knowing.

    Rock on CL, this bitter chump is living a free and happy life now she has no ‘ambiguity’ to make her miserable:)

    Happy Christmas, and remember, each year without a cheater is a good one!

    • This Woman is probably cheating herself.

      I wouldn’t wish the pain of infidelity on my worst enemy. My Husband had everything. I spoilt him rotten. I was very easy going and yet he cheated on me in an affair for six years. He is now living with the mad bunny boiler and I’m divorcing him. He is becoming rather worried about the amount of spousal support he will have to pay me. Well tough. We were married 33 years and I have serious health issues. He believes that he can come up with a figure and that will be that. Well No actually the Courts will decide. He says if we both agree an amount it can go through quickly but I will be no pushover and will take the matter to Court.

      I will make a life for myself and have friends and family but it truly sucks that it will not be the life I wanted. I hope his bunny boiler gives him hell.

      • I just signed the final divorce papers a few days ago (yeah!!!!!!).

        He was forced by the courts to accept what I offered him more than a year ago by he claimed
        was a greedy and entitled offer. He sounds like your STBX. He claimed he would always look after me with an amount he determined. He felt I should be grateful for any crumbs tossed my way from his lordship on high. It was all ok that he was a serial cheater in a 24 year marriage because he had finally found true luv. His happiness was all that matters.

        I hired a good lawyer and patiently waited – but he wanted his day in court because this idiot really believed that what he was offering was fair. The court didn’t agree. What a looser. It was a feeling of vindication that I was never greedy in the process, I was only expecting what was fair under the law. This jerk believes he is above the law.

        And yes, I agree with all who posted that the idiot who wrote that BS word salad is most likely a cheater or in serious denial and is unicorn hunting. This is a place very unsafe for both species.

  • What’s “complicated” is trying to find ways to put out the fire from gaslighting. Or trying to figure out your personal reality from years of lies. Or trying to figure how you will get out of bed the days following Dday. What’s not complicated to understand is Esther’s limited empathy or common sense. She sucks. Cheaters suck. Stephanie sucks.

  • It’s not so complicated. He & I promised we’d love and respect each other forever. He told me he looked forward to spending the rest of his life with me. — Then he met Schmoopie. She’s young (REAL young) and cute, so he wants her more. What’s complicated about that? Seems really simple to me.

    I second the opinions of those stated here: You can’t know how devastating this is unless you’ve lived it. From the outside, I’m sure it looks complicated. But it’s not. It’s real real simple. It’s wrong. And bad. And all those black & white values that “evolved” types hate to label things with nowadays. Some things are just right or wrong. This is one of those things.

  • People and relationships can indeed be complicated. But cheating? Nope, that’s pretty cut and dry. Either you lied or you didn’t. Either you were willing to risk your marriage or you weren’t. People like Esther and your commenter want to extend ambiguity of thought to ambiguity of action, and reasonable people can see that there is a bright line between the two.

  • Stephanie, I speak for millions of chumps, most especially my brother and his kids. This is not the least bit ambiguous. Fuck off! You don’t have a clue what you are talking about!

  • Yep, this Stephanie’s a cheater (Or has her head stuck so far up her arse shes seeing her own tonsils).
    I don’t see whats ‘ambiguous’ about severe emotional, psychological and sometimes physical abuse at the hands of someone who was supposed to always have our back. Or the above being directed at our kids or loved ones, having to endure the fallout of a self-entitled fuckwad.
    Enough with the word salad bullshit already, Stephanie. Are you 12 years old? Learnt a new word ‘reductive’ today?
    Grow up. You disgust me.

  • Holy. Shit !!!!! These moronic, simplistic, self-serving, narcissistic reprobates can have all their “quests for aliveness” (puke!) that they want, as long as they are SINGLE! Yo, Stephanie, maybe your relationship is ‘complicated’ because your partner is in a relationship with someone who feels the world revolves around them. If you want to feel alive, why don’t you skydive, sans parachute? That’s sure to get the old adrenaline pumping.

  • I am particularly impressed with the fact that with the large numbers of people visiting, we still end up feeling like our needs are being met here. I’m talking a large city of folks have had their needs met here. I’m talking seriously met, as in `holding on by the skin of my teeth’ needs.

    I think this site is monitored by unsleeping angels with a high tolerance for potty-mouth.

  • Divorce Minister – you shared a link recently on your blog ; A chump wrote a description of what her pain felt like at the time of discovery.

    Could you share it here?

    Maybe then when these mambi-pambi cheaters in lamb’s skin type flakes read CL’s site they will get a taste of what it might feel like to have your heart ripped out through your eye sockets!
    Or not….

    But it was a good description ” like seeing a dog get shot “.

  • Just to clarify my names.. “TheMuse” = me, Margaret. When logged in, or not logged in, seems to make a difference. A month or so ago I decided to just use my own first name.

  • Re: the “hate and bitterness” thing (which I don’t see coming from CL but whatever), when did it become a “bad” thing to dislike someone, especially someone whose behaviors were abusive to you? I don’t hate my X, but I dislike him. We aren’t friends. He is not one of my inner circle of people. When we were married, I did love him, we were friends, and he was definitely one of my inner circle. He ruined all of that with his Narc actions (and YES, that includes the affair) and emotionally abusive behavior to me and to our kids, things that still affect me and our kids to this day, many years later. I make no apologies about it. I don’t like my ex. I’ll add him to the list of people I don’t like, which includes that nasty co-worker and that kid from high school who bullied me. They were people who actively sought to harm me, and I am not obligated in the least to like them.

    I have seen horrific things done to Chumps I know IRL by their Cheaters, nightmares that continue long after the divorce process was done, as a way to control them or as a way to make them pay for daring to divorce them. And yet, if they say anything at all about them, they get the “you’re just bitter” card thrown at them. Wouldn’t you be bitter about someone who didn’t want to be with you, and yet will NOT leave you alone, and finds new ways to harass you, be it through the courts, fights over visitation, etc? The common refrain I have heard from them is, “I gave them what they wanted, to be free to be with Schmoopie, why won’t they just leave me alone?”

    Actually, that might be a good future post, Chump Lady, why won’t they just leave you alone?

    • Agreed! That would be a good post. My X does this to me regularly. He gets miffed thinking I owe him a thank you, which I don’t give. Then he harasses me non stop via texting all the while, he’s with his schmoopsie poo. I’ve told him to just leave me alone. He does for a while, but then it always starts again.

      • If you don’t have kids with him, just block him. If you do have to deal with him, lay down a boundary that you will only respond to EMAILS one day a week and it has to be about the kids. You will not communicate via TEXT anymore and block him there. Then filter all his email to a folder so you really do only read it once a week. Jedi Hugs!

        • I ‘bundle’ the e-mail reading so I am not barraged with hate mail throughout the day. (I never understood why he kept attacking me when he was the one who chronically strayed and filed for divorce). Unfortunately, character-disordered types attack through e-mail, too. When I contact him about something the kids and I (really) need, he just ignores me.

        • I have 4 kids with him, so sadly, contact with him is more often. Good idea Dat about the email, although not sure if it would work for everyday. There are times where I can go days without having to contact him, then back to talking to him again. He uses the kids as an open to spew his hate at me anytime he says he wants this or that with the kids, and I tell him no. Throws little tantrums which I just ignore. I have anxiety, which I developed after years of abuse from him, so sadly some days I just can’t take it, and wish he would just go away.

          • I am sorry you have to deal with him Freeatlast. I think it’s fair to tell him he can only call you if there is a child related emergency and otherwise he must use email which you will answer if relevant on your schedule, not his. And block the texting, you have no obligation to deal with his texts, tell him that. Then enforce it. Also, if you have someone who could read the emails for you and then you only read the ones that need to be answered that might help. Jedi Hugs!

            • ” email which you will answer if relevant on your schedule, not his”

              This is the problem. He always thinks his schedule is the important one ( ironic considering he’s unemployed again), which causes his outbursts and nastiness. He then tells me I’m being rude, unappreciative, unreasonable, and selfish if I don’t respond when he thinks I should. I’m damned no matter what i do basically.

              • Freeatlast, be FREE! Do you really care if he calls you names now? It’s his shit to deal with. Talk to your therapist about this and how to do it with least impact on your kids. You are not damned in any way, your ex is simply an asshole who still thinks he controls you, don’t let him control you girlfriend! That is one of the many reasons you divorced him. Jedi Hugs!

              • Of course he thinks his schedule is the only one that matters. He’s the CHEATERPANTS. That’s how they roll. So just expect selfishness and hate spewing and unreasonable demands. That’s who he is.

                What you can change is you. You are only obliged to make the kids available to him for visitation or custody dates. You are not obliged to change things to suit him. So set those boundaries. Tell him you won’t respond to anything abusive–either by email or snail mail. You’ll put it right in the email trash with no reply. Then stick to it. I’ll say this for Jackass’s XW–she refused to meet with him, talk with him on the phone or deal by email. By the time he exited from my life, his XW only did snail mail with him. (Ha ha, I thought he was the victim in that situation. Oh, how I would love to hear her story.) You obviously can’t go “no contact,” but you need to stop reading his abusive crap or talking to him.

                We teach people how to treat us. You can teach him that you won’t take abuse. You can do it!

              • Freeatlast,
                yours and mine could sit and swap stories on how uncooperative he are when pushing their own agenda.

                Mine knew Christmas was coming, it was not like it was a suprise this year but left it to the last minute to make arrangments. I left the ball in his court. Following his having the children from lunch on christmas day through to late boxing day evening last year just after d’day I did consider that the same would be wanted this year, no contact was entered into on the matter except two weeks ago amoungst communication over other issues it was noted that we need to ‘discuss it’. but nothing more. So the call came from STBX enquiring what my plans were for him to have the children on christmas day, when he did not get the answer he wanted he got aggressive and demanding, that I should have just know what he wanted and it was “unfair of me” not to do so. Me, I just reminded myself to smile as I spoke to him to negate any negative tone in my voice. Not my problem if you cannot plan ahead buddy.

                Christmas day sorted apparently he has plans for Boxing day this year that do not include the children so it is just assumed by him that I can keep them.

                But the demanding bullshit did not end there. He then went on to push the topic of taking the kids away for a week just after christmas which he had been advised in october would not work for the dates he was proposing( an alturnative was offered at the time but I heard nothing in responce). In the process of the conversation is was made clear that STBX had gone ahead and booked the accomodation for the week he wanted, in the hope of getting around me at the last minute. No consideration for what the kids might want or for the fact that our youngest is still battling cancer. He did not get round me, I just smiled, even when he had a crack at my weight (apparently getting round me would take an extra wide berth) as a way of trying to push my buttons. I just smiled and thanked him for calling.

                He is now taking his brother and his two kids (14 & 9 and not the out door type) on the holiday where all there is to do is hike, eat, drink and sleep.
                I hope it rains!

    • They don’t leave you alone because they think they still own you and have, yes, an ENTITLEMENT to mess with your life. Often they are just miffed that you finally grew a spine and said NO to them (a word that is to an entitled person as water is to the Wicked Witch of the West). Sometimes, they actually admire your new fortitude and want to re-groom you be their next conquest in waiting, hoping you’ll dance even prettier to get back the life you once believed you had. They may want to play the new toy off the old dependable household appliance to see which is more useful or challenging to them now that you’ve got a life and self respect.

      Whatever the reason, it isn’t because the asshat cheater just woke up, found Jesus, and realized that they love you eternally. They want to sink a hook into the departing cake so they can reel it back into their drama whenever they choose. Trust that they suck.

      • Oh, I def trust that he sucks. Even after almost 2 years, I still read CL daily to ingrain into my brain that he and others like him truly do suck. I never really told him flat out no about anything, until after we split. I have done it a few times when he was trying to tell how things would be. I told him no calmly and he exploded in a rage! Each time I tell him no, his pride gets the better of him, and he freaks out. How dare I tell him no! LOL, crazy-ass, that’s all I see it as, bat-shit crazy-ass.

        • Oh shit, Freeatlast, be careful with my previous advice above, do talk it out with your therapist, and maybe your attorney to get written rules that the law will enforce.. Definitely sounds like he could hurt you if you assert yourself to quick, you need to document any fearful rages and such. But I know from experience that if you aren’t battered, beaten and bruised you won’t get much traction with cops or the courts. It sucks, they will believe you are in danger only after you are hurt. 🙁

          • Exactly. Many a battered man has been hauled off by the cops.
            Get a VAR , especially if you are a guy dealing with one of these miscreants.

          • Yeah, that’s why I do things in stages with him, one at a time slowly, eases into it sadly. Otherwise, he has way too much access to me, and I never use to fear him, but do now a little. Obviously a Narc and pretty sure a socio too, so my guard is up now, and of course I don’t trust him. Was thinking of installing an app on my phone that has an instant recorder, just in case.

  • Wow, just wow. She’s a piece of work and then some…..hate and bitterness? Oh yeah, CL showed that when she rallied her chumps to help not one, but two orphanages and gave shoes and toys to children in need. Thoughtlessness? Hmm that will be the tireless, loving, caring authentic curation and moderating that she does – reading her chumps comments, responding kindly, or with the fierce love and conviction of a mumma bear when the chump needs it. Yeah, you can see right through CL – authentic, kind, fearless and a life saver to so many. Thank you CL – from a chump who’s life your blog helped save.

  • Dear: Stephanie

    Esther Perel, writes tripe and sugar coats it. She paints a glossy picture of cheaters, perhaps that’s due to her degree in Art Therapy. Her credentials are dodgy and ambiguous. Esther Perel is fluent in bull. She’s out of touch and portrays cheaters as sympathetic victims and it was a shrewd choice to name one of her books “Mating in Captivity”. She has a naive view on how traumatizing it is to be deceived and no real understanding that a great majority of cheaters are disordered hypocrites. If anyone…. a betrayed spouse in held captive in a marriage, just like the cheaters want it. Either Perel has it wrong, she’s a cheater apologist who probably is one herself.

    Stephanie, you’re mean and judgemental, Chump Lady is articulate and doesn’t play the ambiguous word salad paradigm mumbo jumbo game that Esther Perel peddles.

    Glad you stumbled here Stephanie, hope you didn’t hurt your ambiguous faux enlightened head as CL brilliantly translated your comment into real English.

  • “Stephanie’s” distorted lens about infidelity is so prevalent. I appreciate ChumpLady’s courage and sagacity. Her clear thinking and good writing are an added boost! This blog hells me remember what happened was real and it really was not ok…or just “complicated”.

    Infidelity is the deepest betrayal one person can do to another. This is not a stranger attack on a dark street. This was my best friend of 26 years who lied for years, exposed me to STDs, blameshifted and gaslit me for years, made us lose our home and community, and who grievously interrupted a bright daughter’s college years. And NO, none of us knew. We were blindsided. By a beloved.

    The adultery was wrong, the years of deceit were wrong, the trauma to our daughters was wrong, the mental abuse of me was wrong, and the current narrative my XH is spinning is wrong.

    This is not called complicated. It is called wrong. Some life choices ARE black and white, such as driving drunk and killing a family.

    To round out the black/white dichotomy, we can add selfish, entitled, narcissistic, borderline, addiction, FOO, and “need to feel alive and happy again” and ” i did the best i could” and “bad things happen…you should be over this by now” and “i am just a flawed human…please forgive me, i did not mean to hurt you” ( while continuing the affair…)

    And? It. Is. Still. Wrong.

  • “hells” in line 2 should be “helps”… though hell is a great Freudian slip there heh heh. And my final line is more unambiguously stated as:

    And? It. Is. ALL. Wrong.

  • With something like 10,000+ TED talks out there, a few Esther Perels manage to slip in, unfortunately.

    I really wish she’d go back to her chosen profession of using drama and yarn as therapy rather than opining on how people who’ve been betrayed just aren’t embraching the life-affirming qualities of the affairs of their cheating (hopefully former) partners.

    So sad.

  • Tell it CL!!! REDUCTIVE???? Let me tell what is “reductive”. Going out and fucking someone else so you can feel more “alive”! Doesn’t get more “reductive” than that!!!!

  • My cheating ex was lugging around a copy of Ester Perel’s “Mating in Captivity.” ( I didn’t know it, but he was cheating at the time.) I think it was recommended to him by a therapist. I picked it up and read it. I didn’t find it all that interesting to be honest and disagree that it added any value to the conversation around adultery.

    Adultery is a sh*tty thing to do. Period. It’s abusive and humiliating. There’s nothing that makes a sh*tty deal a better deal despite all the fancy words so called intellectuals and modern day relationship coaches, social workers, psychologists want to throw at us. And I work in mental health.

    My ex intentionally lied over and over, used money for his own advantage and subjected me to emotional abuse. That’s what he did. It wasn’t complicated; it was cruel. I lived it and I don’t need a book or folks like Stephanie to tell me that I just don’t add value to a “conversation” about infidelity.

        • Take a look at the two star review of CL’s book on amazon by Fiona. Unfortunately, she has deleted her initial review and replaced it with a new screed. Too bad, her comparing CL to Hitler AND invoking Godwin’s law at the same time was so hilarious I choked laughing. She has another review on amazon uk using the name Lucy, heh.

  • “doesn’t add to the conversation at all”

    Exactly. Cheating is wrong. There IS nothing else to add to the conversation. CL helped me because she repeated that simple wisdom from 100 different angles.

    We should not be having a conversation about cheating. We should be condemning it, as we do every other harmful act.

    • Breaking the law gives criminals a rush, so they are partly doing it because it makes them for more alive.

      Don’t be so judgemental. Feeling alive is good. lol

      Hard to believe somebody is making a career out of ^^^ a similar argument.

  • A reoccurring theme – no one wants to call someone’s actions bad when clearly that’s what they are. If you put the label complicated on bad behavior – it’s a permission slip, and absolution to do whatever you want. Ditto re: the search for happiness. It’s all a load of BS that would be called that back when society held to standards.

    I also dislike the friends that don’t want to take sides. Guess what ? I made the decision for you. Bad behavior should get no support. But it does. Amazing.

    • Omg, those who want to be friends with both of you, just make me mad!!!!!!!!!

      Some people need to be neutral for different reasons. And I get that. But to have people deliberately choose the cheater due to their sob story of equal pain, makes me think they them selves are either cheaters or just plain dumb.

  • Thanks Stephanie, for coming into a safe anti-cheater space, and once again making the victim the problem. If we are naturally emotional about our lives being torn apart, we’re the issue because the conversation can’t continue? What sort of logic is that? I guess we should all be calm and just let our partners demolish their family, and chin up, don’t show any emotion, live with whatever happens, right Steph?
    Have you ever heard of the old football axiom, “the referee doesn’t always see the first penalty, but he always sees the reaction?” I’ve said this for years, even prior to my ex-wife’s cheating, people think the reaction is what is horrible, not the act that causes the problem. Everyone on this site who has been cheated on is dealing with the act that caused the problem. And we’re all dealing with it in the best most positive way possible. All the evidence we have of the character of our former, soon to be former, and in some cases current spouses, are the actions they took and the devastating impact those actions had on our lives. And yet everyone who isn’t in our shoes gets to speculate on us, the victim, as if we started the problem. We were too nice, not nice, too short, too tall, fat, too in shape, too happy, too depressed, too focused on kids, or work and as a result, it must be our fault, right? One friend of mine found out about my ex’s affair and asked me what I did to cause it. I told him, “Oh I just drove her over to his shitty little apartment and told her to go have sex.” What person in their right mind would defend a cheater? Someone who unilaterally determines a change in marital dynamic without as much as a fair opportunity for their spouse to weigh in? And you seriously want to defend that mentality? What if every President just launched Nuclear Bombs at will because the congress didn’t do what they wanted? What if every CEO fired every employee because they didn’t perform well enough to push the stock up 20 points?
    The psychological impact of cheating is so severe the APA has finally changed its view on the matter and accepted being cheated on causes a form of PTSD. I’ve always been a big reader; on average would read a book a week for most of my life. Since November 1, 2012, Dday, I haven’t been able to read hardly anything, without breaking down. My attention span has taken a severe hit. I’ve been unable to make a decision. I just started going out in public without panic attacks. My sleep is abnormal, my eating patterns are all over the map. I’ve been in therapy for 2 years. Things have drastically improved in my life in the last 6 months and those things are all getting much better, but tell me Stephanie what conversation should we have about an act that does this kind of damage to another person. If this were a woman being beaten by a man, the outrage and horror would be so severe you’d likely never look at that man the same way again. Yet there are people on this site who have been physically abused and cheated on, and would tell you they are both extreme forms of abuse and destructive acts of terror.
    There’s another site out there where the owner of the site interviewed a woman who had been cheated on. She said the devastation, the PTSD, the horror of cheating, was worse than losing her child. So does that mean we can finally have an honest conversation Stephanie, where the actions of the cheaters aren’t excused, aren’t justified by some pop psychologist, where the marriage isn’t blamed (some studies indicate as many as 40% of cheaters say they were in “Very Happy” marriages), where the betrayed spouse isn’t blamed, where the cheating isn’t swept under the rug for the purposes of some other goal? Can we have this conversation where the betrayed spouse isn’t given a laundry list of must do’s in a sick twisted “pick me” dance of ‘if you don’t improve you aren’t worthy of keeping a cheating scumbag’ and start to actually place blame where it belongs? Can the conversation finally center on counselors and psychologists who sweep cheating under the rug, or validate cheaters by attacking the victim? My marriage counselor, for the one session I went to, asked me what I loved about my partner. I told him, “nothing, she’s fucking a kid my daughters age…I hate her fucking guts right now. What would you love about someone fucking a kid your daughters age?” He had to admit, that probably wasn’t the most appropriate time to have that discussion. Therapists, you see Stephanie, by and large have the same idiotic cultural bias against betrayed spouses that we used to have 100 years ago about women who were beaten by their men. “What did you do to cause it.”
    Here’s the truth about cheating. It’s 100% the fault of cheaters. It has nothing to do with the marriage. It has nothing to do with the betrayed spouse. It’s abuse. It’s horrifying. It’s one of the worst things anyone anywhere can encounter. The people on this site are in the process of rebuilding their lives in a fashion that allows them to open up again, without falling for the same load of bull crap laid down by the cheaters.
    If you want an intellectual conversation about evolutionary imperatives or the science of attraction, or even the lack of growth and development that may lead to cheating, there’s a thousand sites that will do that. The people that come to this site understand and know that people aren’t just animals following evolutionary imperatives, or humping dogs that can’t stop acting on simple attraction. We know people have free will and will and do make choices that impact others, and in the case of cheaters, make those choices without as much as a thought for the hurt they will impose. That’s no different than a wife beater Stephanie. Do you want to have an intellectual discussion about the merits of beating your spouse?
    We know the cheaters are screwed up disturbed abusive horror shows with a ton of issues. If a con man pilfers loads of cash from the elderly by making false promises we’re disgusted and want them locked up for decades. If a person lies to their most intimate partner for years, sometimes decades, making that person question everything about their lives, making them feel unsafe in every way, destroying their belief in intimacy, and the decency of their fellow man, somehow that’s much better and we should just have an intellectual discussion?
    I don’t know if you’re a cheater, never had it happen to you, or just have an interest in the subject, but if your mentality is that cheaters are on the same moral and mental playing field as the rest of us, you’ve been seriously misled. If we all made unilateral decisions about the fate of others, it would be a pretty shitty world, don’t you think Stephanie? What if I decided out of the blue, that your parents should die? Or your kids should contract cancer? You’d think I was selfish, and not considerate of how much those people meant to you, right? Why don’t you have an intellectual debate about how the selfish acts of abuse pathetic twisted sex addicted narcissists should be allocated for in courts or workplaces? I maintain anyone who can prove cheating happened in marriage should have full custody, spousal support, child support, and be considered the primary home, have tax incentives, etc. Oh, and that being cheated on should qualify as an FMLA accepted event which allows up to 6 months of FMLA and therapy. Some studies indicate the lost productivity of infidelity costs business billions of dollars annually. I’ll gladly have an intellectual conversation about that Stephanie. But as to what I did to cause my ex to bang a 20 year old maintenance man? You can shove that conversation up your intellectual ass.

    • Scott-I know you don’t post here often, but when you do, it is amazing. Your responses should be compiled into a handbook for those suffering from infidelity and clueless clinicians.

      And I agree with you infidelity should be taken into account more in custody–as my therapist says, the cheater doesn’t just betray their spouse, they betray the children, too, by taking time & money & energy away from them, and by jeopardizing their home.

      Thank you for your insight, and I hope your attention returns. I, too, was an avid reader and then became unable to even balance my checkbook after D-day. One thing that has helped is increasing my exercise (gets more blood to the prefrontal cortex, which helps attention). My 13-year old loves the line from Parks & Recreation, “Treat yourself.” We chumps have earned that, and some.

      • Scott; great post, very insightful to how we all feel/felt.
        I took two 20K pay cuts two years in a row after D-Day & then the endless lies I was trying to believe took me down deeper. I was almost paralyzed with a crushed soul & I could have cared less about anything that was happening and hoped I would just drop dead to end the pain. I have never recovered the income.
        I have thought many times that infidelity should be a CRIME! After all, as you so eloquently portrayed, lives are demolished-and yes, it is premeditated! And like many crimes, the perpetrator got enjoyment and pleasure out of doing it. They ought to take a back seat in all negotiations.

    • Scott this is brilliant. I’m sorry for you–and all of us in CN–that you’ve had these horrific experiences, to write such a succinct and pointed description. But you’ve done it really, really well. If I needed to send a description to someone, I would send this. (Alas, I’m way past the point of trying to convince anybody of anything. If they didn’t get it by now, they’ve been excised from my life. Oddly the folks who do get it? 90% are chumps. Funny, that.)

      • Scott…yes infidelity being part of the FMLA. Remembering back to dday where I couldn’t get of bed to get to work for days and my mean horrible boss telling me to get my shit together because he ‘had a business to run!!’ Oh, it was all such a nightmare.

        • My assholean STBX called to harass me at work 15 or more times a day. When I stopped taking the calls, he called my supervisors and harassed them. I lost my job over that. Then the X deposed my former supervisors asking such things as “How many partners did [I] sleep with?” You can’t make that stuff up. Then there was a request that I pay spousal support at the level I could have if I still had my job and he had none (he was employed but then took a voluntary leave of absence, during which he went to work every day but held his time slips until the divorce was final so he would collect a stack of cash and I would get nada).

          • Survivor, Your STBX and mine seem to carry the same genes. Sorry to hear about your trials with your malevolent, narcissistic, paranoid cheater.

          • As a small business owner myself, I *was* the boss when I was going through my post DDay PTSD and it was awful. I woke up at 2 or 3 am every night crying and doing all the other crazy stuff. It took me 6 months to fully commit to NC but by then, my business was going down the tubes fast, two employees quit, and I lost about 30% of what I should have grossed that year. A year later I’m still picking up the pieces. Though I have felt fortunate to have my own business, because I’m sure I would have been fired from any job (because I couldn’t work, kept crying in front of clients, sit and stare at computer and out the window, and leave at noon to say I was “going to work from home” but just go home and cry), it was still as horrible. Add to that the 25 lb wt loss in 2 mos, and a yr and half lter, I still haven’t cooked a meal on my kitchen stove (where I used to cook elaborate meals for cheater and I every night for 16 years). My life will never be the same. But I have a lot of sympathy for those not ‘fortunate’ as I to be self employed. I don’t know how you got through it Scott, your post is amazing, every word rings true.

            • I am reading these posts, thinking, ‘thank God; these people understand’.

              I once saw something on TV that said to be grateful that people don’t understand. The pain and misery of betrayal is terrible.

              Am I the only one who finds nights unbearable? I get my life together again every day and then loathe my un monitored thoughts that come as I drift in and out of sleep.

              • Lily, yes. To this day, 14 months after d-day, I can’t go to sleep unless I’m listening to a documentary on my computer near my bed. I have to be focused on something ELSE or I will never get to sleep.

              • Lily, I found listening to my iPod soothing when I had trouble sleeping after Dday. Listening to talks by Joyce Meyers and Joel Osteen were very helpful the first year. Joyce has built an incredibly successful ministry after being brought up by a father who abused her constantly as a child. It helped to hear how she overcome great suffering. Joel Osteen is always upbeat and positive, he makes you feel like you can do anything. I’ve come to find their voices reassuring and comforting. You might have to experiment to find the right podcasts for you, but it’s really easy to leave the iPod by your bed and plug it into your ears if you wake up in the middle of the night. I know there are some good meditation podcasts as well. Hope this helps.

              • I don’t know if you’ve tried this breathing technique but I just read about it and it really works.

                Breathe in through you nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7 and exhale through you mouth for a count of 8. I suffer terrible anxiety and this really works. I am asleep and do not wake up till morning. Once you start doing it you may have to do it a few times, like 6 or 7 times but soon it’s shorter and shorter. Worked for me when nothing else did. I know with my anxiety I tend to hold my breath or take very short breaths. This exercise makes you breath in and exhale the bad carbon dioxide. Good luck and I wish us all peaceful sleeps. I can face anything after a good nights rest.

        • Syringa & Survivor, I am so sorry you went through that. I had similar, My boss wasn’t that bad but yeah, when I told him I needed to go on disability short term due to the my ex nearly shooting me? He said he understood but that I should understand that he couldn’t guarantee my job would be there when I came back. He went on to say that he would certainly have to get someone else to cover for me and it was quite likely that person would keep the job. Plus how the company was only required to TRY and give me work when I came back. He did then say that he could deal if I didn’t work as fast as usual…meaning if I didn’t do the work of two people…So I kept working, badly and erratically, but I did it. And because of that I couldn’t go away to get my mind clear, that’s is one real regret, that I let my boss scare me out of going away long enough to get my shit together.

    • Scott,

      Your post is just incredible. Thank you so much for not only naming our pain, but giving it form and substance through your very clear and definitive description of our lived experience. Your words articulated the feelings that filled my heart and spirit for a long time and like you, I have begun seeing the light at the end of what seemed like a dark and endless tunnel. You totally rock Scott.

    • Scott, your take on the ref seeing the retaliatory foul is right on and , many cheaters use this to justify their affairs.
      There is this deal called ” fundamental attribution error” that a betrayed spouse needs to be aware of.
      Essentially, it is a deal where outsiders see only the reaction to the abuse vs that initial abuse ( in this case the cheating, gaslighting etc,).
      Then, they see the betrayed acting out of character in response to the abuse and assume that that is the way the betrayed always acted.
      Cheater points to this as justification for her/his affair.
      So, if upon discovery one goes to far off the deep end, expect that your cheater will point to this behavior as your typical behavior and claim that it drove her/him to cheat.

      • Good comment also Arnold. The cheaters are never held to account for their actions, we the betrayed (Chumps) are held to account for our reactions.

      • So true, Arnold. My cheater claimed that he had to divorce me because I had moved a small percentage of our money (and immediately told him about it) from some joint accounts to a personal account to keep our kids housed and fed in case he fled, which he did. Cheater conveniently neglected to inform the audience that he had retained a divorce attorney months earlier and had repeatedly threatened to keep our kids from me.

      • I want to remember “fundamental attribution error.” Thanks for giving us that concept, which no doubt explains why some friends and family members see the chump as “at fault.”

      • Arnold, so true about taking how we behave after DDay & acting like we have gone crazy & now need to be treated like this zany out of control person who incited this cheating with OUR strange antics.
        What I was going to point out is I think they use this along the way too. While they are cheating they act different i.e., starting fights to storm out, coming home late, staying out of town longer, not giving us any attention & become very critical & find reasons to be away from us. Then our reaction to this changed behavior & abuse becomes just another reason they are not happy with us. I know my behavior changed after I started getting treated badly, and then he would site this as why he was cheating. I was no fun to be around, etc. Normal people have a reaction to how they are being treated. They use your reaction(s) to being abused to build their case against you.

        • Wow Regina, so true. My ex did the same. Stayed gone all the time, wouldn’t talk to me…of course I got depressed. He insisted we live in the country where I had no neighbors, he was gone all the time, and our kids had moved away. I was so isolated. Then on D-day, after another long business trip he said “You’re unhappy too.” Of course I was unhappy after being treated like that! I remember feeling like I was being beaten by someone and then blamed for crying. I just had no experience with victim blaming in abuse so I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I think that’s the part I have the most trouble forgiving him for.

            • I remember after my Husband cheated & decided to come back to me, he said, well you won you know. I remember this was one of the most shocking things he said. (although there were many more like it.) Won what? A cheating MF? How about we talk about what I have lost? which is pretty much everything. Not only do I feel like I don’t know one thing about YOU, I also no longer trust my own instincts. All my “specialness” to my most trusted person is gone forever, as everything we have shared has been shared with another while we were together. I can’t trust you, I can’t trust myself, and now I can’t trust anyone. Trying to believe you was my worst mistake, because I only betrayed myself further trying to believe your lies and your version of the “truth.” Despite my confusion & deep pain, it was still all about you as usual. The truth would have set me free, but you didn’t want me to be free.
              Like othisagain & Lyn agreed, we are set up for the fall or the stabbing and then they act like we fell on the knife & if only we weren’t so stupid & clumsy we would not have to be dealing with this fate.
              It reminds me of when my older brother used to grab my hand, make me hit myself & then say “why are you hitting yourself?” It is Gaslighting 101! Advanced courses to follow!

          • . Lyn; I agree this is SO confusing! WTF? Who is this asshole & what did he do with my husband!?! When exactly did he turn into a human spin machine?
            Like some kind of D movie where you wake up in an alternate universe with an alien who says he is your husband!!

    • Great comment, Scott. I have a ton of thoughts swirling in my head after reading your post (and this thread). Maybe some can be shared over time, but it’s kind of superfluous right now. You hit a lot of nails on the head in one swoop.

    • Scott, I’ve watched a lot of soccer and clearly remember hearing that the player who retaliated got called more often than the perpetrator of the offense. I’d never thought of that in relation to how we react after discovery, though. One of the most difficult things I went through after D-day were family members telling me “he never says anything bad about you,” as if he was the better person. I wanted to scream “What could he say about me? I didn’t cheat on him or lie to him for years!” It seemed so unfair to be criticized for my reaction to his offense.

      On another note, I have two friends who lost their college aged sons in accidents. Both these women told me the grief and pain of their partner’s betrayal was far worse than the death of their child. People don’t understand the depth of pain betrayal causes. I watched my sister go through it, she even moved in with me for awhile, but I still didn’t understand why she couldn’t pull herself together. After it happened to me I called and apologized for not understand the depth of pain she was going through.

      • Lyn: I also had a mutual friend say that I should be careful about giving up a relationship where my H spoke so highly of me even after 25 years together. My response was that his public discussion of me was very discrepant from his private one–that in most of those 25 years, I felt more criticized than cherished.

        And I’m pretty sure STBX complained about wifey to his AP and later almost-AP.

        I fully understand why we all claim that the betrayal is the worst thing that ever happened to them (I have had several traumas in my life, and the betrayal is worse than any of them). But I am amazed by people who say that the infidelity is worse than losing a child. I know we can’t imagine how things feel until we live through them, but my children always meant more to me than my husband, and I’ll take him cheating on me (even with this tremendous pain) over losing one of my daughters any day.

  • Scott your rock. That is just an awesome comment from beginning to end. Thank you for saying it so much better than I ever could.

    • Thank you all, the posters on cl, and tracy herself are such a source of strength and inspiration…cant believe people actually attack this site and the inestimable value it serves for us all…

      • Scott, I confirm what everyone else has said. I have read your post 3 times. As Dat commented, “I think I love your also now”!! You could have a groupie fan club at this rate you lucky man. 🙂

  • Chump lady is taking back the narrative that has been hijacked by ambiguous faux intellectuals who perpetuate stereotypical cheater speak.

    Cheaters and cheater apologists prefer to upgrade the cheater and downgrade the cheated on partner. If you disagree, then the bitter, sexless, narrow minded card cones out.

    The narrative, is that cheaters are sensual, passionate, alive, intellectual beings of a higher standard. Cheaters are philosophers who defy “mating in captivity”. As Esther Perel says, one must “cultivate your secret garden”. The flip side of this narrative is that to be cheated on presumes you’re none of the above.

    Let’s not forget to mention Dan Savage, the Monogamish guru and the Gwyneth Paltrow of Conscious Uncoupling. For these folks “divorce” is a dirty word, it conjures up a sense of failure that their egos cannot endure and thus they make up new phrases that the portrays their intellectual superiority.

    Esther Perel and her contemporaries reminds us that the Emperor has No Clothes.

    Chump lady has taken back the narrative along with chump nation and it’s about time.

  • “Searches for meaning in ambiguity…”

    ambiguity: uncertainty or inexactness of meaning in language.

    Yea, that search will never find anything b/c the very word “ambiguity” cannot exist if there’s actual “meaning.” If you have meaning you don’t have ambiguity, by literal definition. Do go continue looking for squares in circles. It’s highly entertaining watching you make a fool of yourself.

    • You can’t search for meaning in something that quite literally doesn’t contain it. The only search involving ambiguity is how to destroy ambiguity. With marriage that’s easy: you either stay all in or you divorce and stay the F all out. There is no middle ground. Ambiguity solved.

      • Although in psycholinguistic circles, “ambiguity” is used to refer to words that have multiple meanings. Narcissistic cheaters want us to focus on their “meaning”–the sense of freedom from “cultivating their secret garden” (per Esther) and reneging on their marriage vows. As research has typically found with ambiguous words, you cannot activate one meaning without activating the other–in the case of chumps, the gut-wrenching, soul-sucking pain that comes from being betrayed as the victim of infidelity.

  • Dear Stephanie:

    To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I may be bitter and angry now (due to my Ex’s abuse and cheating) but I will get past it;

    you, on the other hand will remain clueless, “complicated”, and an idiot.

  • A while back Tracy made the point that if adultery isn’t so terrible to commit, then it’s not too bad to talk about either. And that’s what we do here. Directly, honestly, clearly – we’re not the least bit ambiguous about what’s happened. Truth is truth. She hasn’t commented back, has she??? Suck it, shady Steph

  • Ugh. Idiots like Stephanie give me agita.

    The fact is, when you are thrown into the hell of infidelity, you actually need the bare-bones, “reductive” argument to ground yourself and feel sane. But cheaters and their apologists, for whatever reason, love love love to throw up smoke and mirrors to throw you off balance.

    “Things are not quite what they seem to you, you simplistic moron. Bad is good. The sky is yellow.”

    It’s gaslighting by committee, and it needs to be stopped. Tracy has it exactly right when she calls this “logic” into question.

    For anyone close to D-Day, this site is the right place to be. Here is where you’ll hear some truth. If someone tries to tell you that your perception of infidelity as wrong is flawed, walk away. Fuck that noise.

  • “Searching meaning through ambiguity” is another way of trendy faux-Zen thought to try to use a coffee filter in a septic tank…

    It’s like “searching for common nobility through higher level dicketry”, or the insouciance of “unilaterally freeing a lifelong committed relationship from the fetters of monogamy”.

    My gut says this Perel chick likes to spew this shit because she knows sex sells–and the more variety there is in sexual promiscuity, the more fodder she has to use to pad her lovely paycheque when throwing her glitzy repackaged bullshit to big companies…

  • Any chance the “Stupid Shit Cheaters Say” vid could have an addendum?

    Could you tape a carrot to the head of a donkey and teach it to say, “I am searching for meaning in ambiguity instead of placing a good/bad label on complicated relationships” “

  • Word Salad seems to be a daily dish these days. History or the present is revised to fit a new narrative, Things like “Net Neutrality” “Affordable Care” etc. Maybe I should not use a political example, but it seems the same in a way to make any unacceptable or not so good thing acceptable by making it sound different or even the opposite of what it is. What you call something can really make it seem acceptable or not. Just like the Cheaters want to make their needs seem lofty, or beyond something a simple Chump can understand, “complicated” or existential. Better known as BullShit!!

    • Net Neutrality is exactly what it sounds like. Here’s the definition:

      the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

  • Stephanie has suffered on a diet of fuzzy logic and sparkly unicorns which has resulted in her becoming constipated….what needed is a high colonic….thats reductive.

  • Stephanie and Esther must be cheaters themselves.

    It really is pretty simple:

    If you don’t plan to be monogamous, don’t get involved with people who do want to be monogamous.

    If you get married or are in a relationship where monogamy is expected and you don’t want to be monogamous anymore, get out before you have an affair or discuss it with your partner openly and honestly.

    Cheating is lying. Lying is wrong.

    If you cheat and expose your partner to STDs or crazy behavior by your affair partner you are doing something very wrong.

    If you cheat and break up your family you are wrong. If you are the one who cheated and broke up your family, don’t try to get out of your responsibilities or rake your spouse over the coals in the divorce. Pay up and STFU. You made your choice to lie and cheat, have the balls to own it and pay your fair share.

    For affair partners, if they do it with you, they will do it to you.

    If you break up a family because of the ethereal “happiness” then you are just a poor excuse for a human.

    If your affair partner who is cheating on his spouse tells you how horrible s/he it, well, that really is mostly just bullshit. Every relationship has issues and problems. The way to fix that is to be open and honest with each other and get help if you need it. The wrong way to fix it is to start an affair and lie about it.

    Anyway, all of this is pretty simple.

    People who are feeling betrayed by the lying and cheating and all the other crap that goes with it are entitled to their feelings.

    Cheaters and their apologists aren’t entitled to anything because they are wrong from start to finish.

    omg I’m so sick of crap that gets spewed by the Esthers and Stephanies of the world and the MRA nitwits are incapable of logical and rational thought.

    If you don’t want to be monogamous, don’t get involved with people who do want to be monogamous. There are plenty of people who swing, have open relationships or who are in poly situations. The way those types of relationships work is with rigorous honesty and open communication. Only immature, entitled assholes lie and cheat and many of them clearly have personality disorders.

  • Oh this is crackin me UP! Way to go CL!!!!! 😀

    These archives are invaluable to this chump! You and all the advice posted here are just what I have needed these last 5 years!

    Thank you!

  • Dear CL-TS

    Oh MG thank you! I have been looking for this! Finally!!!!! I hear someone clear about this Perel phenomenon. Narcissism and an entire culture of it. I think I have never felt more alone on this subject than even being gutted by betrayal. Just this morning I had a “Day-Mare,” (term belongs to crazycat) of one of my (3) daughters Jogging in a city park and suddenly finding themselves running next to two people:

    a) Brene Brown, and my daughter exclaims “Wow!” you are one of my absolute total, total, total, Hero’s on the cultural shame thing.” “Wow, hey can I ask you something because things are really bad in our house because my dad had a long-term mistress the whole time me and my sisters were growing up and my mom is being dumped with a lot of “like, wow – social shame man, it’s weird but she’s getting all this shit on top of his shame? what’s that about? Wish you’d write about…… THAT SHAME.”

    Hey man, can you tell me something BB?

    “Have you ever cheated on someone? and felt shame?
    or
    “Has anyone ever cheated on you?”

    No comment from BB….

    My daughter doesn’t get an answer and keeps jogging in the park and who does she suddenly run into/next to?

    B) Ester Perel out getting her “Core,” fit for making a LOT of money off of Infidelity…and my lovely daughter runs next to her also saying

    “Wow,” man your that Guru of Infidelity and cheating being what did you call it “Exuberant Defiance? feeling alive etc,” Hey EP I wish you could come to our house and see what’s happened because my dad made a unilateral decision to cheat on my mom for about 2 decades. You know that cultural term….”Have his cake,” but stealing hers and mine too and my sisters also…(for the rest of our lives). So Ester I was wondering hey can you slow down a little and really answer something meaningful? without me having to run and PAY you…a LOT of money for your ‘wisdom.’

    Hey man, can you tell me something EP?

    “Have you ever cheated on someone?
    or
    “Has anyone ever cheated on you?”

    Hey, where is everyone? why you ladies running away and not talking to me? wow……

  • Hey Ester Perel?

    I Know you like those ‘sexy’ quotes…. and this ain’t no Jean Paul Satre or Marcel Proust but

    “The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive HER deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”

    dat one an only Andre’ Gide….ya think he called it.

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